Some Thoughts From Ms. Unsolicited Advice

In the spa business, I spend a good deal of time around women. We usually chat as I'm ripping hair from their nether regions and what do we typically talk about? Their love life.

Many of these women are looking for love. Well, they say they are. It amazes me the giant laundry lists of must-haves many of these women have. Now, don't get me wrong, picky is ok, in fact preferable but you have to be picky about the right things.

I have a client who has lamented many times that she's not married yet. Now I do not say the following to be shallow or mean but as an honest assessment of her dating handicaps. This woman is in her early 50s, at least 60 pounds overweight, not pretty in a classic way, not attractive in an unusual way, unemployed(she's in school part-time for some unemployable degree) with her parents still paying her rent each month. She lacks anything in the way of an appealing personality, she is not funny, she is cheap, whiny, entitled and arrogant. Her stand out feature is she is very intelligent and articulate.

She said she never meets any men and it depresses her because how is she going to get married if she can't even meet men. I suggested she use one of the many online services like J-date(she's Jewish), or or eharmony. I told her that I had many clients and friends who had met very nice people this way. You know what she said? She said oh, I've looked and the guys online are all fat and bald. For all of her dating handicaps she's going to write someone off because of their appearance?

Now if you spend a lot of time on your physical appearance and you're in really good shape, I think you have some leverage in seeking that out in a partner, because hey, fitness and looks can be a mutual interest, right? But when you have not put effort into these areas, to expect that field of partners to be available to you isn't impossible but it is unrealistic. Generally someone who puts time and effort into this area is going to expect you to do the same.

I have another client who has dated and talked about marriage(with me) with regard to her last 5 relationships, each one lasting about a year. Even though she's deeply in debt, she will continually shop out the $10,000 engagement rings. She has spent a lot of time over the course of our conversations talking about how big the ring should be, why she deserves it, blah, blah, blah. Not one thing about why she wants to build a life with any of these guys. She also talks about what kind of wedding she needs and whether her parents will be able to afford it and what steps they should take to make sure they can. All very entitled and I'm sure, a giant scary turnoff for the guys.

If you care more about the wedding than the guy, you are headed for trouble. If you have your whole wedding pictured in your head and the only variation from partner to partner is the face on the groom and the name on the invitation, it's not looking good. Not that most women didn't have our fantasy weddings picked out in our head and our list of what would make the “perfect mate” or how we thought our lives would go. But when you are in love with someone, you adjust all of this, give up some of it and most of it just ceases to matter because the wedding, the ring is not what it's about.

I also have a client who is having an affair. Unhappily married with three boys, she was probably vulnerable to the attention of another man. Where did she meet the other man? He's one of the dad's of a boy on her son's soccer club. He is also married. I don't know if there is a certain thrill in the covert nature of their clandestine meetings or just a diversion from the misery of her current situation but I just don't get it. She talks about him and he sounds just like the husband she has now.

Of course he seems more interesting, more attentive, more successful, more attractive, more everything. They are in the courting phase. Unlike the pile of marriage shit she finds herself sitting in, her boyfriend and her have never had to share the responsibilities of children, the stress of financial problems. They have yet to disappoint each other in any fundamental way, he hasn't withheld affection, she hasn't withheld sex, welcome to movie love.

I'm going to slip on my armchair therapist shoes for a moment and say that until you allow for the fact that real love can come in a variety of packages you are destined to be lonely. Until you loosen the grip of your fantasies about weddings and jewelry and focus on what you can bring to a partnership, you are destined to chase away the good ones. Finally, if you've picked wrong, you need to fix your picker or you are destined to pick the same wrong partner over and over again.

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Anonymous said... July 17, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

That's right, love isn't about the ring or the wedding, it's about the whole package, you know, "package." snicker.

MJ said... July 17, 2008 at 9:33 AM  


Oh, and what would armchair therapist shoes look like exactly?

formerly fun said... July 17, 2008 at 9:57 AM  

SD- You're a dirty birdy.

MJ- In my mind, the shoes look like this.

formerly fun said... July 17, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

ok, here's the actual link so you don't have to copy and paste.


RiverPoet said... July 17, 2008 at 10:57 AM  

Ew. I'll bet you know far more about the average woman than any of us would want to, given that you're helping them keep the forest from overcoming the land.

I've often thought that it's funny how picky people can be when "shopping" for the love of their lives. Most of them need to take a good hard look in the mirror.

Peace - D

Anonymous said... July 17, 2008 at 11:25 AM  

I need me some armchair therapist shoes!

Anonymous said... July 17, 2008 at 5:33 PM  

Well said! Kind of a "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need..." approach.

The Mick Jagger code of love...

Actually, the Mick Jagger code of love is probably something else entirely.

Anonymous said... July 18, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

Maybe you should buy this poster and hang it somewhere, like in the lobby.

MJ said... July 18, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

Oh, yes, I'll be a therapist for some of those shoes!

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